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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

TIP OF THE DAY: Eat More Walnuts & Other Unprocessed Foods

You can add walnuts to almost any recipe:
here, in a chicken salad sandwich. Photo
courtesy McCormick.

 

Tiny changes in your diet can reap big results. Take walnuts, which provide energy, protein and other good nutrition. They can help prevent heart disease, cancer and other conditions, tasting delicious in the process.

Walnuts are heart healthy.* They’re one of the most nutrient-dense food sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid that fights bone breakdown in aging adults—and also decreases insulin resistance, assists with weight management and may be beneficial in brain function.

The journal Nutrition and Cancer has just published a new study indicating that walnuts may reduce breast cancer as well (October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month).

A study of cancer in mice, funded by the American Institute of Cancer Research and the California Walnut Commission (neither of which had any input on the study design or findings), showed that the risk of breast cancer dropped up to 50% when the mice’s daily diet included a modest amount of walnuts. In the 50% reduction group, walnuts were added to the diets of the mothers, from conception through weaning, and into the diet of their offspring from birth.

 

What has already been established by science is that if we eat more unprocessed, fiber-filled foods—nuts, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans—we can improve our overall health and reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Little adjustments in diet can have big payoffs down the road.

While an animal study is a precursor toward testing in humans, the new study is an indication of how walnuts might play a role in preventing cancer.

EASY WAYS TO ADD WALNUTS TO YOUR DIET

The amount of walnuts in the test diet equates to 2 ounces a day for humans. It’s easy to include halved, chopped or ground walnuts to every meal. In addition to long-term health benefits, they add flavor, crunch and nutritional punch.

Walnuts At Breakfast

  • On pancakes, waffles or French toast (walnuts are delicious with syrup)
  • On cereal, yogurt and cottage cheese
  • In an omelet
  • Baked into breads and muffins
  •  
    Walnuts At Lunch

  • In salads (try walnut oil on salads, too—it’s one of our favorites)
  • As a soup garnish
  • In sandwich condiments and fillings: mix chopped or ground walnuts into mustard, mayo or butter and add chopped walnuts to chicken, egg and tuna salads
  •  
    Walnuts At Dinner

  • On grilled or sautéed vegetables and potatoes, mixed into rice and other starches
  • Ground and mixed into vinaigrette or other salad dressings
  • As a crust on meat, poultry and fish
  • As a general plate garnish
  •  
    Walnuts As A Snack Or Dessert

  • In snack bags (carry them around in a plastic bag—or better yet, in a reusable snack bag)
  • In trail mix
  • In dips (mix ground walnuts with nonfat Greek yogurt) and olive oil-based bread dippers, with your favorite seasonings
  • In cookies, cakes, pies (walnut pie instead of pecan pie) and other baked goods
  • On ice cream and frozen yogurt
  • With a cup of coffee, tea or other beverage
  •  
    What are your favorite ways to add walnuts to your diet?
     
    *The USDA-approved heart-healthy nuts are almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. These nuts contain less than 4g of saturated fats per 50g. Seeds such as flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds may offer the same heart health benefits. Note that walnuts and flax seeds have a significantly higher amount of the heart-healthy alpha linolenic acid compared to other nuts and seeds. This plant-derived omega 3 fatty acid is similar to that found in salmon, which many studies show lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) levels.

      





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